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“Fantastic”
Review of Melia Las Dunas

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Melia Las Dunas
Ranked #8 of 16 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Reviewed January 24, 2014

Let me just tell you about this resort. The resort is beautiful, clean, the beaches are exceptional the food is really good and lots of variety and most of all the entertainers were amazing. Especially Leo that is so funny and great with everyone. He really made our vacation fun along with Nazber. They both are super kind and go out of their way to make you vacation great! I've been to this resort twice in a year ! I fyou`re looking for fun this is the place to go ! I'm planning my next trip already!

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with friends
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3  Thank Bachatamama
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DirectorMLD, Director Comercial at Melia Las Dunas, responded to this reviewResponded January 25, 2014

Dear Bachatamama:

Many thanks for give us the opportunity to receive you in our hotel.

We are so happy to see that you enjoyed your vacations, and we will extend this review to all people involved in your comments.

Will be a pleasure to receive you again.

Best regards,
Yudiel Manejias
Sales Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 24, 2014

Booked through: Air Canada Vacations by Maritime Travel for $1030 per person with flights from Eastern Canada included
Our Travel Dates: Jan 11-18, 2014
Quick Snorkelling Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZMA0hxLq4k&feature=youtu.be

Expectations Going In:
Before travelling we set our expectations based on what Air Canada had rated the resort, and based on what our Maritime Travel agent spoke about. We just expected to be able to try a few new things (food, activities), explore a bit (resort) and have fun on this resort (music, swimming ,dancing, drinking). We especially wanted to feel like it was a true all-inclusive. That was important to us.
FOOD was NOT important to us on this trip. We set our expectations before we went, that the food would be "OK" at best. It was.
TIP: If you are looking forward to the food on this resort the most, you will be disappointed 6 out of 10 times. I mean this in a very broad scale, in comparison to all resorts around the world.


Santa Clara Airport
The airport is small and I could smell something outside that resembled cow manure. We found it funny that we could smell that. It's probably near a farm. The airport staff moved is through quickly. There were no lines there before us, because we arrived at 9pm local time. Within 30 mins of landing, we were filling the bus and leaving for the resort.


Transfer
Rating - "Excellent" - 5 Stars
The bus driver and tour guide that transfer you from airport to hotel are very welcoming. They have trouble understanding our English accent (Eastern Canada) so you have to repeat some stuff or slow your sentences, no biggie.
Beer for sale on bus for 1 or 2 pesos. Drive to Melia Las Dunas was around 2.5 hours. I was so tired I wasn't very lucid during the drive. The tour guide talks about Cuba on the bus but its so late, and I was so tired, I couldn't focus on her voice.
High marks for having bus clearly marked and visible outside of airport. And for tour guide information during drive, and for serving beer on bus.

Arrival
Rating - "Average" - 3 Stars
The eventual arrival was at midnight, not my preference for arrival, but that's all that Air Canada offered us for this time of year out of any New Brunswick airport. It's not busy season to Cuba so the flights are VERY limited. You are lucky to get a flight that is decently priced with 2-3 connections.

The "Air Canada" check-in desk was a Cuban man that didn't understand some things of what we said. I immediately felt like I couldn't really ask him anything too detailed. I immediately felt like there was this invisible communication wall between us. That sucked.
We tried to ask him if we can choose rooms, but he told is its already picked. That was a bummer to not even get a choice. I guess that's how they handle vacation packages from Air Canada.
He pointed us to walk back to the front of the lobby entrance to bell services. They arrived 5 mins later after we wandered around completely lost. (Our general hotel inexperience may have contributed to feeling lost).
They drove is to our room very quickly on a large go cart that carried us and our bags (1 luggage each, with total of 4 people).

The "orientation" the next morning was offered by a man who had very good English skills. He was very fast and i grabbed a free drink on the way in to wake me up while i listened to him. He is a rock solid star at his job, he's fantastic.

The Resort Layout and Facilities
Rating - "Very Good" - 4 Stars
The resort is bigger than many resorts, and has two mirrored sections.(One for Adults Only, and one for families). This was a very smart design decision, because it works VERY VERY WELL. The size if the resort gave me the feeling that we are in a little fancy Cuban village. Every day was a new exploration, and new villagers (workers) would be around to tell you something, or show you something.

PROS: I Gave points here because the pool, and the beach for the adult side was calm, no music, no loud annoying stuff going on when you just want to relax and sun bathe or swim. Then, as soon as you cross that invisible line into the second half, you get out to the beach and see water arobics, beach bingo, sail boats gearing up, bakini's dancing and partying and chatting it up. Same with the pool, adult side was quiet and calm with seniors and middle aged people. Family side had the same features but with extra fun pool for water sports. Families use the water polo nets and its awesome fun to see or play there. The fact that you could relax on the adult side of the beach one day, and then go party on the beach on the fun side, was an absolute delight. You constantly get the choice of what type of fun you are in the mood for. Its on of this resorts best features in my opinion. I personally value the power of choice and freedom, and Melia Las Dunas understands that.

CONS: I docked points for the lack of signage for bathrooms. It should not take a person 4 days to know the location of the bathrooms near the lobby. Its hidden in a rear facing angle, and no signage pointing to that area from the centre of the lobby. Also it was a 20 minute trip to leave the beach, go to nearest bathroom, and get back to the beach. That kinda sucked. No bathrooms near beach. Not a big problem. Just wish bathroom was closer. It makes you think about how much you can drink before you have to leave the beach. I didn't drink as much as i wanted to because i would have spent more time walking to bathroom than on the beach.

Gym
I'm not sure why they chose to place the GYM on the outter ring of the Family section. Shouldn't everyone want to enjoy the gym equipment regardless if you are a family, or couple/single? Everyone works out, regardless if you have a family or don't. It was a 30 minute walk, ONE WAY to the gym for us. It is kinda of odd that they didn't put it in the center, right near the "Sports Complex" that barely anybody uses. Seems like that would be the best location. The GYM is worth it though, they have a great selection of high quality free weights. Its a great gym for any type of exercise. Free water is offered as well!!! Staff is always there to tend to your needs as well.

Store
The general store was more like a gift shop, with an average sized stock of cigars in the back. Warning: Cigars may not be kept in correct humidity out in the stock room before they are stored in the main cigar room.
I was disappointed that the store didn't have anything for sore throat, no creams, no Tylenol or anything like that at all. What if my luggage is lost and My drugs/cream didn't make it to me? That would be AWFUL. Luckily we didn't feel ill at any point.

Restaurants and Food
I did not focus on the restaurant food a whole lot. Im not a person who eats late in the day, so i didn't book any a la cartes.
I generally wasn't impressed with the buffe for breakfast, and the same location that they switched to supper buffet. One dish i did like at the supper buffet is the ability to build custom pasta and chef cooks it for you.
The guy who makes the liqour'd coffee in the frying pans every evening in the beer garden is absolutely a MUST. The ladies love it.
Beer garden had amazing atmosphere, with music, drinks, amazing looking double sided bar.
At night it turns into a beer garden with waiters/waitresses everywhere, with cuban live music with dance! Saxophone guy who walks around is a really nice funny guy too. We tipped him a couple times.


Favorite Snackbar and restaurant food we loved. We loved it so much we talked about them on a daily basis.
... Pizzas and calzones at Mi Conuco
... Ice cream in center walkway
... Meat Sandwich Grill on the beach is really good and fresh tasting.

TIP: In restaurants, for Beef Burgers (ask for well done, unless you want the beef to be PINK!)


Beach
Beach is a 5 star in my opinion. Water is very, VERY clean and... STUNNING!. Sand is like powder, staff is always there to clean up seaweed in mornings and helping you find chairs. One guy had a small brush that cleans the chairs.
We loved how one end of the beach had no music, no microphone yelling and nothing going on, so you can relax. And then you walk about 3/4 KM down the beach and that's where all the fun is happening. Beach bingo, water aerobics, loud music. Its so much fun to try it out!
Snorkelling is fun. There are maybe 3 different kinds of fish, but still fun. We saw some large ones that are about 1 feet long, and on another occasion, we saw a school of small ones, about 1000 of them travelling together. I'm not exaggerating. it was amazing!!!! We captured an under-water video of them. That was awesome.

Staff and Service
Rating - "Excellent" 5 Star
Their staff is amazing, and you can see the Spanish (i think) owner or manager that walks around in a blue shirt talking to guests and staff. Staff is always working to clean and resort is clean as a result. They always stop to pick you up and drive you to your room, restaurant or beach on the little golf carts.

Three specific examples of great service that I liked:
1. A gardener stopped us to give me a red flower, to give to my wife. That was nice touch!
2. Another gardener stopped us to offer us coconut water from a fresh coconut. He chopped it open and gave us all straws. That was fun.
3. My wife accidentally left her sunglasses on a buffet table on day 2. She figured shed never get them back so she bought more in a gift shop the next day. On Day 4 we got the same server that we had when she had lost them. He surprised her with giving her sunglasses back! He had held onto them for 2 full days. Great guy for doing that.

Air Canada Booked us for $1050 per person for the week. This included our flights from New Brunswick Canada. Good value, great time!!

WOULD I GO BACK? YES of Course!!!!
Why?: Staff VERY eager to help, Adult Side of buildings beach and Pool are Quiet, Beach is STUNNING, Air Canada Rep is smart guy, Good Cigars, beautiful resort.

Room Tip: Request Adult Only Side for: More quiet area, although single groups still party there. Not all seni...
  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Kevin C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DirectorMLD, Director Comercial at Melia Las Dunas, responded to this reviewResponded January 27, 2014

Dear Kevin C:

Many thanks for your comments...

This is a fantastic review that will help a lot to all our potential clients.

Will be a pleasure to receive you again.

Best regards,

Yudiel Manejias
Sales Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2014

This was our second time at Melia Las Dunas from January 14th to January 21st 2014. We were just as pleased as the first time. This resort is beautiful, the lobby, lounge, rooms and the grounds. Everything is so well kept and clean. The service is great all over the resort wether it be for the rooms, the buffet, the restaurants, bar etc.. There is always someone at customer service ready to answer any questions or request we might have. They go out of their way. As for the food, the buffet definitely has a variety to please everybody and is very good. The restaurants "a la carte" are great, we especially enjoyed the Mexican as well as the Romantico and Italian. For lunch the Pizzeria is delicious and so are the fries. The beer garden for hamburgers and sandwiches as well as beer was fine. This is a great place for families young children, friends and teenagers. The beach is breathtaking, the white sand and turquoise water crystal clear, we have never seen anything so beautiful of all our trips down south. We définitely recommend this resort and we will be back in 2015.

Room Tip: Rooms on the second floor with the view of the sunset is beautiful.
  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
4  Thank Lynne C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DirectorMLD, Director Comercial at Melia Las Dunas, responded to this reviewResponded January 24, 2014

Dear Lynne C:

Many, many thanks for your review and support...

We are just waiting for your return to our hotel.

Best regards,

Yudiel Manejias
Sales Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2014

First time Cuba but being traveling down south over 10 years so my experience was Beach,rooms ,staff was awesome & food wasn't bad but washrooms were far & rare also lots of walking due to no trams , alcohol seemed washed down & only get premium liquor after tipping but bottle beer was good & available which was tasty

  • Stayed: January 2014
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Thank jjj20
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DirectorMLD, Director Comercial at Melia Las Dunas, responded to this reviewResponded January 24, 2014

Dear jjj20:

Many thanks for give us your comments, will be a big help in order to increase our services.

We will take into account every detail you are letting us know.

Regards,

Yudiel Manejias
Sales Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2014

My boyfriend and I visited Melia Las Dunas for the first time about a year ago, and loved it so much we decided to go back again... on the way to the airport I started to wonder if maybe we'd be disappointed the second time around, but I was worrying for nothing: we loved it even more than last year.

The beach is magnificent (sand like icing sugar), the staff are friendly, the grounds are tidy and clean, and the rooms are clean and well-equipped (umbrella, in-room safe, etc). There is a large variety of food - nothing tastes exactly like is does in Canada, but since you're not IN Canada, I don't see why people complain. There are lots of options so everyone should be able to find at least a few things they like. The Italian was our favourite a la carte, and we also enjoyed the Asian (Cuban sushi!?!). From noon to 3 pm, there is an amazing lunch BBQ beside the beer garden, with fresh fish, crab, shrimp, pork, sausage, etc on the grill... definitely the food highlight of the trip. The lobby bar also has great coffee in the morning...

We only had one problem - when we first arrived our TV didn't work. But we went to customer service to let them know, and it was replaced within a few hours. (And who wants to watch TV anyway, when you have the live entertainment and the lobby bar in the evening!)

We didn't do any excursions - we had a lot of fun just sunbathing on the beach and by the pool, plus a few visits to the little market to the west of the resort (a nice short walk to get a bit of exercise). We also did the "Cuban rum massage" at the spa (cost about $60 CDN each), but I wouldn't recommend it if you are looking for a deep massage -- it was more of a Swedish-style massage, without much pressure.

We also got to meet the manager, Guillermo, who clearly cares about his hotel and wants to see his guests happy... all in all, highly recommended. We might not be able to wait a year before we go back again ;)

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank RGQ2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DirectorMLD, Director Comercial at Melia Las Dunas, responded to this reviewResponded January 24, 2014

Dear RGQ2014:

Many thanks for your comments, we will wait for you to give you another amazing stay by your 3rd visit...

Do not hesitate to contact us.

Best regards,

Yudiel Manejias
Sales Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2014

2nd time back in Cuba. Cayo Santa Maria is for sure one of the friendliest places I've been to. Very accommodating, great service, and good food (for Cuban standards...) The beds could use new mattresses, but hey, it's Cuba. My only comment to them would be to have a bit more staff at the lounge bars, so the wait is less, but when they're there, it's super. Great spot for families too....

Room Tip: most rooms along the beach have great access.
  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank travellinmarty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DirectorMLD, Director Comercial at Melia Las Dunas, responded to this reviewResponded January 24, 2014

Dear travellinmartin:

Thanks a lot for your comments...

Will be a pleasure to receive you again in our hotel...

Best regards,

Yudiel Manejias
Sales Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2014

We were at the Melia Los Dunas in April 2012 :) I know this was a long time ago but I will NEVER forget the amazing experience we had there!!!

ROOMS/HOUSEKEEPING
Rooms were beautiful, spacious and clean. Beds were comfortable, clean and large. Having a balcony with a sitting area was perfect!! Our chambermaid Yurkis was FABULOUS!!! We exchanged notes everyday and I was able to give her gifts for her son that made her cry. It's been 2 years and I will never forget her!!!

BUFFETS/RESTAURANTS
Well as they say you do not go to Cuba for the food. The a la cartes were OK but nothing to rant and rave about. The buffet food was always cold. At the snack bar they made the most amazing chicken strips fresh and hot :) But the service at all of the restaurants were INCREDIBLE!!! We always had breakfast at the buffet and Maria was SO sweet, kind and helpful. She helped us with our spanish and we helped her with english. Thanks Maria we have not forgotten you!!!!!

BARS/CLUBS

We did not try the disco but heard it was not very lively and that's OK with us as we are not partiers. Lobby area always had a place to sit and the ambiance was perfect. Drinks were AWESOME!!!!

POOL

Pool area was clean and always had anough lounge chairs. Swim up bar was a plus and once again staff there was incredible.

GROUNDS

Grounds were kept spotless by the wonderful grounds keepers. Every morning our grounds keeper would be waiting for us with a flower for me or some fabulous "art" he would make with the palm leaves. 2 years ago and we still have the grasshopper he made our son!!! Lush trees, beautiful flowers and fountains are everywhere on the grounds.

BEACH

By the far the most beautiful beach I have been to. I have been to Mexico and Hawaii and this beach wins hands down. On windy days the surf can be rougher but still safe. On calm days the water is just stunning. Always enough beach chairs!!!!

OVERALL

If I could give this place a 6 out of 5 I would. This was our first trip abroad and it was perfect. I recomened renting a car for the day and travelling to the near by villages off the causeway. Well worth the 100.00 or so dollars to go into town on your own. But don't go on Sunday as everything is closed in town. We were able to mingle with the locals and give out gifts that were SO VERY apreciated!!! A little boy grabbed my cheeks and gave me a big wet kiss that brought tears to my eyes :) It was very safe as we went on our own and no one was overly pushy and we got to ride on the back of bikes. We also had a wonderful man "watch" our car for us and when we left him a 10 pesos tip he cried from gratitude. We also visited the sugar cane factory that day. If you wish to see the real Cuba I strongly suggest going into town.

The catamaran and dolphin excursion was FABULOUS and was a great bang for your buck. Just bear in mind you do not actualy swim with the dolphins but more of an interaction.

My only complaint is that we want to return this April and they do not seem to offer rates for children as we plan on bringing all 3 of them :(

Room Tip: First or second floors everyroom seemed quiet :)
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Melanie K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DirectorMLD, Director Comercial at Melia Las Dunas, responded to this reviewResponded January 24, 2014

Dear Melanie K:

Many thanks for your comments and supports. All information you are giving us will be very important in order to improve some of our services.

Will be a pleasure to receive you again; do not hesitate to contact us...

Best regards,

Yudiel Manejias
Sales Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Melia Las Dunas

Address: Cayo Santa Maria, Caibarien, Villa Clara | Jardines del Rey, Villa Clara, Cuba
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Villa Clara Province > Cayo Santa Maria
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Spa Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#4 Romantic Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
#7 Top resorts Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
Price Range: $136 - $415 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Melia Las Dunas 3.5*
Number of rooms: 925
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Magic and Legend unveils an ancient story that goes back in time to 1492, with the discovery of America. Melia Las Dunas, a 5 star resort, All Inclusive, ideal for your vacation with your Family, Reunion & Incentives, Weddings, Honeymoon Distinguished by the variety of services, the inviting atmosphere and the confort of its facilities, Melia Las Dunas offers the vacations of your dreams. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Melia Las Dunas Hotel Cayo Santa Maria
Melia Cayo Santa Maria
Melia Hotel Las Dunas
Melia Las Dunas Cuba

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